Costa Rica: Atenas










July 1st

Atenas, Costa Rica

Wow, first day here! Not even done yet, but I am finally laying on my bed with my cozy lounge pants on and listening to the rain pound down on the tin roof. It smells and feels so good. It’s so tropical and cozy. I just finished a conversation with my host Mom Olga. I was drinking freshly JUST squeezed non-sugared Papaya juice and we were sitting at the table gossiping sobre la gente en el pueblo. Estoy en Atenas right now.

It is so green. So very green and beautiful. There are rolling mountains, not small green lush wannabe-mountainous hills like those in Texas, but real big giant green lush fervent mountains. There are so many shades of green everywhere. The plants and flowers and shrubs are so plentiful. They are bursting over every ledge, rooftop, fence, ceramic plant pot and creeping out from cracks in the sidewalks. The gardens here are beautiful. It’s very “old school” feeling. On my walk back from the centro I was basking in the such pleasing feeling of the green, and AMAZING flowers everywhere, just taking it all in, and watching las mujeres mayores sit on their porches and nod at people as they go by. They are probably gossiping and sharing as well. It’s very lush, tropical and rainforest like here. Well duh, right? I’m in Costa Rica, and well, it’s exactly how one would imagine.

Atenas is quite small. I think I would get bored here if I had to study her for a month. But that’s just me. It’s perfect for a high school group, just now getting out of the comfort of their home web and safety net.

Having just gushed on and on about the natural beauty of this place, I must say I think the man-made things are quite tacky and cheap. The stores, what they’re selling, general construction, how things are set up. It’s dirty and all very cheap. But then again, when they’re things that matter, the catholic church, the central plaza, the “barrio de los a acostados” (cemetery), las casas, etc. they really are lovely and a perfect Costa Rican cultural vista.

Made the flight, and slept from Austin to Houston. It was only about 35 minutes, then JUST as I whisked through the Houston airport I found my gate and they were already boarding. The plane from Houston to San Jose was about 3 hours. Only a small bit of turbulence and that was that.

The line at SJO customs was INCREDIBLE!! Took about 40 minutes to get my passport checked and stamped (but oh yeah, another stamp! Sweet!)

Then I found my bag, and was greeted by an assistant colleague with my name on a sign! YES! ME! I was one of the those people that gets picked up on business at the airport with a sign! 🙂 I know it’s silly to get excited about it, but I was! There it was “Liliana Jones” and I strutted on over in my tight red pencil skirt (from the Good Will I might add for a whopping $5! :p) Anyhow, I felt special and accomplished at that moment.

Orlando (Assistant director) and Maria (main High School for summer, director) took me cruising through the hills to meet my host mother. Olga is the Mom and Carlos is the dad. He is a veterinarian and he also has these REALLY lovely wood carved sculptures around the house. They are super pretty and intricate.

Olga made me a HUGE lunch! And now expects me to eat another giant dinner….But SO many good fruits and vegetables. Costa Rica offers SUCH a wealth and abundance of beautiful unique fruits and such good veggies. 🙂 At one point there were FIVE plates of food in front of me! Grilled plantains, a bowl of black beans, grilled Talapia-like fish, AMAZING “fresco” type pico de gallo salsa (chimichurri), but way better than anything I’ve ever had in the states, coffee, juice, some other sweetish, light, crisp veggie that I have no idea what it was ,was great too! Ha ha.

Maria and I walked down from the house and met the group at the plaza. That was high and low. It’s so fun to put faces to names and meet people that I’ve only known through email, but again, they are high schoolers, and well, didn’t really react in any sort of unique way. Just like “oh hey”…..’can we continue along with our activity please?”… ha ha what do you expect?

Gonna try and hit the sack WAY early tonight as we are leaving tomorrow at 6:45am for an overnight trip to Manual Antonio National Park: rafting, crocodile viewing, beach time, hiking in the rainforests, etc. We’ll be back on Sunday.

I’m not sure when I will get a chance to post this as there is no WiFi in this lovely ‘tico’ house on c/ Sabana Larga, y I will be out for the weekend at the park….but…..

3rd de Julio

Back in the house of Olga. I just met one of her sons and his gf. They live in a town called Quepos where they study and work. (oh latin people are so funny! When I say, I mean, it in a “curios” type of way. They are funny queer. Not gay, but curious, otra vez. :p)

This past weekend we went to the beach. Oh man did we go to the beach. It was freaking fabuloso!

Lets start from….

Saturday morning – I woke up at 4:45am and decided it was time to get ready, so I got in the shower and got ready. I didn’t have an alarm clock nor, a watch or anything so I really didn’t know what time it was, but the sun was already coming up pretty high, so I figured it MUST be getting close to 6am. As I was going to get picked up by the bus at 6:45am. I showered, did my hair, got ready, etc. and then came out for some coffee, ‘cos oh lordy I could smell that amazing mouth watering (drool enhancing) Costa Rrrrican coffee just uh brewin’ way. Anyhow, I came out and Olga said, “aye! It’s super early! Have you showered already?”….I said, “Um…yes, what time is it?”…she goes, “ about 5am”. Oh man!

It’s just that this part of the world is RIGHT on the equator “more or less” y it gets dark REALLY early in the evening/night and the sun rises REALLY early in the morning. Which makes for a lovely bright and shining SUPER beautiful green and misty aired morning, but makes the evenings kinda of lazy and the feeling that it’s super late even though it’s only about 7:30pm or something.

So she fed the crap out of me again hording on such fruits as papaya, pineapple (the best you’ve ever had), coffee and more coffee, a banana and some fresh tamarindo juice ( I still don’t know the name in English). I am DEFINITELY going to pack o’ a few pounds, with all of this fruit, and fruit juice and the unnecessary amount of food. Ha ha I know she’s being generous and that’s how they are, but man! Not as much exercise, and an abundance of natural sugars and the incessant endearing pestering of if I am full, if I am sure I don’t want rice and beans (again!), etc. I will come back pounds heavier, but just have to “walk it off”. :p

[I am sitting at the table now and there are geckos and little lizards randomly coming around on the walls. They make that click-click-clicking noise].

So the bus picked all the students up individually from their host houses. I felt like a little kid, with my black backpack, and my water bottle, awaiting the bus to go on a field trip. The morning was absolutely glorious. Only 6:30am and the sun was high overhead, the green leaves and lush bushes were glistening with dew and there are so many flowers everywhere of all different colors. It was very calm and serene and I was standing on a smallish “friendly, neighborhood” road, waiting for the “school bus”. Ha ha.

We drove and drove and drove, through mountains of just green. These mountains were so high and green and beautiful. I have never seen anything like it. So many colors everywhere. You could make a box of coloring crayons with only the colors of Costa Rica.

We stopped on a bridge to look at some crocodiles (cocodrilos), which we saw and they were very seductively frightening. They had an air of danger, but were so still and mysterious. Hanging out in the mud with their jaws wide open, doing nothing but sitting there and staying warm. Saving energy to pounce on their next meal….those poor cows in the pasture really have no chance.

We drove down, and up and all around left and right and side to side. Rolling hills and mountains of crazy latino drivers and busses and cars and motorcycles, etc. we started to get into the more “touristy” area of Manuel Antonio, where there were restaurants with amazing views, hotels offering “hot water, wifi and coffee”, etc. We could start to hear the ocean and I felt just right at home. :p People with surf boards were walking by and girls with sarongs and braided hair.

We stayed in this hotel called Coco Beach, about a 7 minute walking distance from the ”public beach” of Manuel Antonio. But first we drove to the entrance of the National Park and got to walk about a mile through the SERIOUS rainforest/jungle. It was about as real into the mix of a selva (jungle) that you could get. There were monkeys swinging around, and iguanas passing by (thankfully no snakes!). I mean, I know they’re part of nature too, but they can come in and out after and before Liliana passes along, thank you.

We arrived to the most PERFECT beach you’ve ever seen. It was a giant “cove” type style, with perfect white soft sand that just melts between your toes. We had some picnic lunches, and hurried into the crystal blue sea. I’ve NEVER felt the Pacific Ocean be so warm in my life! It was fun to speak with the students. I am with the high school group right now and there are kids from all over (California, New York, Louisiana, Maryland, Connecticut, etc.). There is this one girl from Washington DC and that was her first time in the ocean ever! What a good day that was for her 🙂 Splashing around in the Pacific Ocean, with palm trees making the shade for your nap, and making sandcastles with the Sand Castle Master (aka Miss Jones).

Una chica from Louisana y la de Washington DC and I made a GREAT sandcastle. It had been YEARS since I had done that much sand digging, and it was fun! We played a fun Spanish vocabulary game and made the little drippy-drip sand castles. We pretty much spent half the day frolicking in the beach, sand, jungle and looking for exotic animals. I was hanging out with this kid from Cali (who’s “mom used to model with Jonny Depp”) and in a matter of 6 minutes we saw about 5 monkeys, a SLOTH (which I think is so cute they call them “osos perezosos” which literally translated means, ‘lazy bears’. :p), about 30 crabs, an iguana, and a raccoon! All in the wild, just being themselves, wandering around. Wow! One of the monkeys was carrying a baby on it’s back and it’s face and head were so very tiny! Her little tail was wrapped around the side of the Mom and we even saw for a few minutes she was nursing.

We went back to the hotel, we walked back through the town of Manuel Antonio and got the experience some of it. It’s very touristy, but in a good way! Surf shops, surf lessons, coconuts falling, green leaves for fanning, sarongs, Spanish, sno-cones, coconuts cut so you can put a straw in it and suck the milk out, etc.

A bit of resting, shower and then we got ready and went out for dinner. We played pool, and talked and laughed and sang in an open air restaurant, and of course since it’s the ‘wet season’ in Costa Rica right now in the late afternoons and night come the rains. So while we were dining, the rain, which I call “monsoon rain” because it is so heavy, came gushing about outside. But we were safe under a roof eating the food.

Spent the night in Manuel Antonio y the next morning got up and went white water rafting on the river called Rio Naranjo. We had the funniest young men Costa Rican tour/rafting guides. First, as a group at the rafting center we had a “Tico” breakfast: two tostadas, with lovely circles of the most dulce (sweet) pineapple you have ever tasted, with a star shaped fruit on top of that with two lovely sprigs of “green decoration”. To arrive to the place where we put in we had to drive through fields and fields of man-planted African Palm trees and the guide was reaching out from the bus teaching about plants, and berries and the history of this and that. We had to climb up steep mountains on rocky roads, next to the cliffs of green and small muddy creeks. We passed by the most lush forests and pleasing natural beauty you have ever seen. It appears completely untouched by man. Higher and higher we climbed. Then finally stopped and got ready. I was in the raft with a fun guide, and three boys. One from California, Texas and ….the other I forgot. ….I was in the front and oh man was that a good time! We plowed through rapids, got water EVERYWHERE, fell this way and that. Got TONS of arm and leg exercise (finally) and pretty much feasted on the excruciating beauty of the mountains and forests. Seriously! When we were in a slower part of the river I would gaze around and just be SO amazed by the environment we were so lucky to be in at that moment. The water was dirty, but naturally. It was from mud run-off from the mountains. To the left were hills and mountains and cliffs of green trees, bushes, palm trees, flowers, etc. To the right were more. Sometimes we would be in a more narrow type of valley, squished between lovely green and colorful walls of nature just rafting away with a Tico guide behind us, carefully (but with a little danger :p) guiding us and steering us down the Rio Narajano.

[“Tico” – is the colloquial commonly used name for people in Costa Rica.

After rafting we also had lunch at the rafting office: of COURSE rice and beans (uhhhhhh :/), smallish salad with a nice avocado dressing, more delicious fruit, and some queso fresco (the soft and wholly kind that comes out of a wet box…um does that make any sense? Maybe not).

Then we drove back to Atenas.

Man, again, with the beauty! After we had left the AMAZING beach side of it all, then came the green mountains, vegetation, plants, bushes, trees, flowers, and serenity. Danggg….Not much going on at all, except one high way and a bunch of green mountains. The mountains were high and the clouds were low. It was the late afternoon again so it started to rain and the clouds came in. Then the sun was back and a GIANT rainbow came out to cover the road, mountains, valleys, and everything. It was quite beautiful.

Safe arrival back to the house who’s address literally says “50 meters west of the bar of Kings”. :p

Tomorrow I will go in to the language school and get a chance to work and get on email. This will end TWO WHOLE days of NO email…wth!? What do these people do out here? Wow….another way of living man. Another way of living….it’s good practice though. And I suppose since I can’t LITERALLY work, I don’t have to be so tense about it. But I will be glad tomorrow to get a chance to email and make some calls.

The kids have been fun getting to know. They are QUITE a mixed aged group and definitely some are in the adolescent growing up and changing phase and don’t quite know how to be yet. Which is interesting, and sometimes I want to smack their snotty looking faces, but then I remember they are high schoolers and they just are figuring it all out. They are fun to know as I really do like getting to know all people.


4 de Julio

Happy Independence day US of A!

The closest thing to any American Tradition that came by way this year was a) a serious of smallish fireworks last night for some fiesta the neighborhood was having and b) Carlos (the host dad) brought in a bag of corn on the cob for his dinner tonight. But it’s all good, no me importa mucho. Although a hot and sunny community bbq by a lake would have been nice. But this is alright too J

This morning I went to the language school where we have the students attend their language classes in the morning. It is a marvelous “campus”. It is SO tranquil, and pretty. It’s made on an old ‘finca’ (ranch/orchard type) of oranges, mangos, etc. You walk down this gravely dirt road and arrive to a small white building where the office is, and then the classrooms are separated into small “gabezo” type structures. They are open-air, with a roof of course, and there are tables and teaching materials all around. There are cute little pathways to each learning center (called “ranchos”), and an abundance of trees, flowers, bushes, etc. It’s the most tranquil and relaxing place of education I have ever seen. It’s more of like a getaway for monks to meditate. Although I didn’t see any 15 year old American kids meditating, the idea was there.

I got a moment to work this morning so that was good. I was able to meet some of the people that I had only emailed before, and it’s always fun to put faces to names.

Worked from about 8:30-2. Then came home and OF COURSE Olga had prepared me a lunch, which I graciously ate, while squeezing into my already tightening capri pants.

There is ALWAYS good coffee though.

Lunch: salad (lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers), a few fried plantains, and other things, that I can’t remember right now. I had to decline the fruit juice as I am feeling pretty “juiced up” right now and yes, it is natural fruit juice, but still…..

After arriving home the rain started. Oh and did it start! I rested a bit, but the rest turned into an elongated nap as the sun was just about down, and the rain was NOT letting up.

After resting and day dreaming (which is how I tend to fall asleep), I awoke and ventured out of my little cuarto. Olga and I watched some TV together but more or less just gossiped .She is so funny. Just blabs about EVERYTHING! Tells me “secrets” about other students that have come here, and other people in the town that I have to PROMISE not to tell anyone at all. “vale” I always say. I did some stretching and yoga, which felt good but oh man I need to run! I need to do jumping jacks, pump some iron and play Red Rover Red Rover or SOMETHING!! :p

I was going to walk into the center today, which takes about 30 ish minutes, but not with this kind of rain! Instead, I sat gossiping with a flitty, hyper active Costa Rican woman who jittering her leg, playing with her jewelry and asking if I am hungry. We watched CSI: New York, some Scrubs ,and then had tea. We sat in her kitchen talking about which tea is the best to lose weight, and pills she wants to order to suppress the appetite and I just e smiled. She is so quirky. I had some pieces of palmitos and a small piece of fish one of her 8 sisters made.

Later we are going to watch some Rodeo type thing. I am pretty sure it is going to be very similar to a rodeo, but only parts of it. It will be interesting.

Carlos is so funny. He just saunters in, speaks calmly, and moves very slowly, but with purpose and precision. He doesn’t say much and I just witnessed Olga push him out of the kitchen telling me he was a horrible cook and shouldn’t even try. He brought in some local corn on the cob and cooked it in the microwave and seemed to enjoy it just fine.

That’s it for today. It’s wet and green and my stomach is full.

5 de Julio

Today my foot is swollen with a bug bite and the toilet is leaking. Today I waded into a flooded bathroom with a swollen red foot and took a cold shower :p Of course it’s not terribly swollen and I just had to turn the silver knob on the back of the pipe to turn the water off, but still……I’m pretty sure what they deem to be “hot water” is the hottest it gets. My standards for hot liquid are pretty high and it’s not like I can order my shower “190 degress please” and have it written on the side of a cup and sent back if it’s not perfect…..so I just dealt with it :p

My foot itches and itches and is swollen. Some kind of allergic reaction to a bite. Sure, it’s not terrible, but it’s not comfortable either, but the bugs here are torturous: everywhere you there are bugs and mosquitos. Instead of putting on lotion and body spray or perfume, I pretty much just douse myself in bug spray. No, it’s not like Queen of the Nile or Malariya Land or anything, but “Off!” has become the new “Chanel” ( ha ha, yeah right, as if I wore Chanel).

Breakfast: plate of papaya, pineapple and mango, bottomless coffee of great quality and a little orange juice.

This morning I went to the language school and did some working and internet type things.

After work I came home, changed clothes, and of course was sat down to have lunch: seafood soup, fried plantains and a little white rice. She’s sneaking in on me. She usually just offers me some and I decline but this time she was bold enough to just plop it right in front of me….:/

After lunch, the bus came by and picked us up for the Volunteer activity. It’s cool because we get to help out with something that needs things done and we are volunteers so it’s free labor for someone in need and we are young and have the energy to do so.

We were all dressed in our scrubby clothes and drove to an elementary school high in the beautiful hills. Half of us weeded, picked up trash and cleaned out the “green” areas of the school and the other painted the basketball (recreo area) court. Then we switched tasks. I don’t really like dirt under my finger nails, nor being covered in paint (man have I become dainty, ha ha) ,but I went along with it because volunteering is a good service and manual labor is a good way to bring you back to the real world. Everyone should have dirt under their finger nails once in a while. Dirt nor paint is terrible, but I prefer to be clean. There I said it. I don’t mind being dirty, I really like camping and playing with sand and stuff, I guess it’s just the idea of having to get clean again. Dirt and playing is fun, just maybe the extra work to get clean again is what bothers me…:p

I’ve spent more time with the kids now so am getting to know them a bit better. Of course it’s still challenging them opening up as they have already formed their groups for the summer, and I am an outsider more or less (although more inside than they know, heck I’m the one who organized all they’re data to get here :p), but anyways….the high schoolers these days play WEIRD GAMES! They’re not weird, just different and I don’t know how to play them! How strange…..

So we weeded and painted and played around for a few hours then took the bus home. I always feel like royalty or a famous person when the bus comes to get me or drop me off, it’s a personal chauffeur and I pretend I am on camera waving and hopping into the private transportation. He he. It’s a very special and rare thing to feel “waited on” in a sense.

After volunteering I went back to the language school and worked some more. It’s neat to think that our whole operation is operating from different countries right now! We have team members operating in Colorado, United States; Atenas, Costa Rica; Granada, Spain and the rest of the onsite Program Directors operating in Oaxaca, Mexico; Granada, Spain; Atenas & Heredia, Costa Rica and Buenos Aires, Argentina. How wonderful and amazing the technology allows us to do that!

Tonights dinner was so fun! Carlos, Olga and myself sat together at the table as well as Olga’s nephew eating “Sopa Azteca”. Basically like a tortilla soup and OF COURSE she so generously made it vegetarian :p It was muy muy rico! With hordes and hordes of avacados. We were talking about how they are considered to be a very nice treat where I come from because they are pretty expensive most of the time. Olga’s nephew, Andres, was laughing because he sells them to the supermarket from a tree in front of his house and there are thousands and thousands all the time. He even DECLINED her offer to put some on top of his creamy, vegetable, hot tomato-tortilla soup because el “come muchos”. Ha ha how funny and awesome!

For about two hours we sat at the table talking, eating, drinking wine, etc. It was completely lovely. They are a very interesting, smart and entertaining couple. We talked a lot about history, current events, wars, armies, presidents, food, fruit, etc. There are so many types of fruit here that I have never seen! It’s very nice to be back in a Spanish speaking world. OH lordy, mine needs work but each day it’s more comfortable and normal.

I am also learning a LOT About the director responsibilities and the operations that our cool director does to make all things possible. She’s pretty cool-io! Her and Orlando are pretty much totally rad. They’re a good team and fun and young. It’s important to have energy in this line of work. J

So…we’ll see how my foot is tomorrow. If the swelling hasn’t gone down I will go see the doctor and get something done to it. They’d BETTER not pull out any kinds o’ needles, ‘cos I am going to run away! Tomorrow after class/work we have a small bit of free time and then it’s “pool day”. Shall be easy and laid back. I will attend for a bit, but then explore the town, make some purchases hopefully and see the Veterinary clinic of Carlos. It shall be interesting. He is a very smart man and knows a lot about the world.

There was less rain today which was nice, but still some. DEFINITELY enough rain for the entire world. Psh, well that may not be true, but it’s VERY concentrated and DEFINITELY not timid or shy about making it’s presence known here in Atenas.

Again, I am full of food, laying here with a swollen foot, no teddy bear and my computer.

C’est la vie.

6 de Julio

More work this morning.

After work I came home and had yet another FEAST of a lunch: GIANT salad, with tuna, cucumbers, unknown green vegetable, and o.mg.oodness!! the MOST YUMMY DELICOUS TREAT EVER! Olga really geos out of her way to make sure I have the ‘healthy food’ I want, but wow it’s so much all the time! She is very sweet and it is a real pleasure to have this much care taken to make sure I am comfortable. But oh boy is my stomach full! :p

What WAS this yummy delicious treat you may ask? OH you know, just another way of making a plantain. I think she just grilled it and baked it a bit, and perhaps toasted the outside. Nothing less, nothing more. It was sweet (naturally), soft, suave, and the most delicious thing ever. I was BARELY nibbling on them, because I didn’t want them to end. Although the plentiful salad she gave me was pretty much the perfect Lili food. All of the produce here is amazingly fresh and good! It just comes right out the ground, thrown over to a friend, sliced and diced and doused in some balsamic and plopped on the plate! There is ALWAYS some kind of “fresco” (juice), which I really do like, just not accustomed to having so much juice around. It’s all natural, si, pero still….me engorda……

After lunch the private bus gathered the students up and we all went to a ‘pool day’. It was an outdoor area, with a public (yet seemed very private due to it’s remote location), with a green soccer field, and basketball court and private little covered areas for snacking, reading, hanging out, etc. We were there for about 3 hours or so, just doin’ whatevs I got a chance to speak with some of the girls which was nice. I haven’t had many moments to really “connect” with them thus far and it seemed this was a good opportunity for it.

I was reading my new book “Onward” and they were all harassing me “why are you reading that?”…”Are you like in love with Starbucks or something?”…”psh you are from Seattle, uh! All Seattle people love starbucks!” I didn’t offer any controversial retort just said my peace and they either understood or didn’t, or it went in one ear and out the other. Either way, it was a fun afternoon.

We even got to play some soccer and I did my first running in weeks. Which, well was fun that it was on a soccer field and I was running around barefoot in Costa Rica kicking a ball, but not so fun when I barely went only a few yards and my pinche shoulder, collar bone and neck say “ohhhh no you don’t!”….boooo :/ Makes me sad.

ON the way down the hill to drop the students off, I had them drop me in the town so I could see the veterinary where Carlos works. Well he is the owner/doctor of the place. Has his name on a big sign up top. He has a pet shop/veterinarian, so I hung out there for a moment and then him and I went to pick up Olga at some place and together the three of us went grocery shopping at the local grocery store. Oh man, what an experience that was! We saw so many people they new and had tos top and say high to everyone. Olga just zooms around with the cart, shoveling this and that into it. She opened up a bag of nuts and threw a few into her mouth and continued on. Carlos opened up a mineral water and shuffled behind her saying hi to his buddies. It was so fun! There are so many fruits and vegetables here that I don’t know and they have been so fun to try. They are a very kind, thoughtful, generous and fun family. They bought me bags of coffee and made sure I had the best kind.

[Did I tell you they usually have about 4-5 dogs in the house? They are all very small, but apparently Carlos has a soft spot in his heart for the Chihuahuas. In his shop there was a whole rack of CLOTHES for Chihuahuas.]

Afterwards the three of us ate at this outdoor little quick-food place. We had ceviche, diet soda-POPS, and watched the people playing and walking in the central plaza and the people walk by on the street. It was very cultural and so pleasing and calming. MAN the sun goes down SOOOOOO Early here! It’s almost pitch black by 7pm.

After dinner we came home and I did some BRIEF yoga stretches and breathing in my room. Now we’re just in the salon (living room) watching some terribly tacky TV show. IT’s an American show and I am a bit embarrassed by it. Ha ha. The TV is more or less, 70% Spoken English with Spanish subtitles, 20% American movies dubbed into Spanish and 10% All Spanish. I had a little piece of home the other day when Carlos was skimming the channels and he stopped on “How I Met Your Mother”. Of course this makes me happy and I stop everything I am doing to bask in the goodness of this show….:p IT’s a feel-good one!

Today the nephew of Olga just GAVE me a big bag of his freshly ground coffee and insisted that I come over to his house to take pictures of his Avacado tree. When I went over there, I saw he had such a beautiful garden and yard around his house. Mango trees, banana trees, and nances and jocotoes. He went about picking these and those for me and filling my hands with tropical fruits that I had to take back with me. He is very generous and interesting. Awkward and sweet. Kind and thoughtful. Strange and different. I wrote him a thank you letter by hand and made him an origami crane which I will leave here when I depart on Friday.

His avocado tree was out of this world! It was a) giant and b) full of millions of avacados!! I told him my mother was going to be very jealous and would love to live in his tree. That made him laugh. Dang dude, I said “this tree would be WORTH SO MUCH where I live.” :p How lucky to have them at such leisure. Although while they are expensive and not eaten much in my life, if they were around all the time they might not be SUCH a treat :p But it sure has been a treat to pretty much have them at every meal….Avacados in the lunch, queso fresco (with mango and pineapple) in the morning, and yummy fish for the dinner! And GREAT Coffee! Is a dream, really.

Although my legs are hairy and I have dirt under my finger nails….y eso no me gusta mucho. :p

** Ooo Espana…mi Espana….I know I know I am In Costa Rica, but I can’t help it. We were watching TV tonight and there was a show about old houses and these people were going in to the really cool old ancient flats of people in Espana. Wouldn’t you know it? RIGHT In the province of Granada. I recognized it right away. The show continued and so did my longing to be there. I know it’s silly, and I am enjoying Costa Rica so much. It’s not about the comparison or if I am enjoying it or not, but I have a special place in my heart for it and it won’t go away. I need to be back there. J

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